Hey Designers!

We want to invite you all to come along to our June Meet-up on Friday 23rd, in the Workbench Bank of Ireland.

This is an opportunity for us to catch up with what everyone is doing at the moment, meet new faces, have a chat, and tell you about news from our end!

Topics which will be covered:
– Details on the upcoming September Fashion Show
– News on our membership offer
– Update on the Studio House progress
– A meet & greet of each of us, with everyone getting a chance to introduce themselves and tell about their design business
– Sounding board for any issues as a designer which you would like to address in a future workshop/talk

There will be nibbles and drinks, and we will have quite a structured meeting in order to get everything covered..

If you want to attend, please email us @galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com or Message us on Facebook and we will send you more info.

We need to know definite numbers, so please be sure to confirm your place!

Looking forward to seeing and meeting you all!

Gayle & Ann xxx

The Only Way is Up | Starting a Fashion Business

In 2014, The British Fashion Council and London Business School collaborated on a report entitled Commercialising Creativity — Creating a Success Model for British Fashion Designers which aimed to investigate whether or not there was a distinctive formula to creating a successful fashion business.

CCR-Cover.jpg

Defining Success

— There are three dimensions of success within the designer fashion sector:

1 Creative acclaim (how the designer’s creativity is perceived)

2 Communications perception (public profile and awareness)

3 Commercial acclaim (how much sales and profits the designer generates)

This is how the report defines success, and while your outlook on success could be very different to commercial viability, for the purpose of the report and this blog post, I will define success in a similar way to the authors.

This post will offer 6 Tips which are based on some of the most critical and interesting points of the report and try to give up and coming designers a blueprint for turning your hobby into a successful business.

The report has striven to identify the biggest challenges designers may face and the best means to approaching and eventually conquering them. The report is based on information collected from a varied and knowledgeable group of people.

Acknowledgements, Commercialising Creativity

Tip 1: Behave like a Business

The business and creative side of being a designer need to become interconnected so it is critically important that from the start you treat your craft as a business. This means that you as a designer should embody entrepreneurial spirit that will drive your business towards success.

What do I mean by entrepreneurial spirit? I mean having a clear vision for your company and drafting a business plan right from the start. You should have a desire to promote yourself as being reliable and credible, more than someone just tinkering away in there kitchen. There’s noting wrong with tinkering away in your kitchen, as long as you are working towards a establishing a solid business.

It might also be worth considering bringing on board a business partner, someone with tried and tested commercial and business skills, to help out, although it is of the utmost importance that you as the designer have an understanding of the basis of commerciality.

Tip 2: Recognise the Importance of Product Development

Once you have decided you want to turn your talent into a business, the tendency can be there to show off everything you can do and create lots of beautiful designs. However, if you look at any emerging designer who was fortunate enough to find commercial success and establish themselves in the industry, they all started small with one product line and then developed their brand from this jumping off point. This is an important step to take as it creates a concise image of your brand which needs to be consistently intrinsic in all of your future work to give your business brand recognition.

Linked to this is the process of setting the correct price point to ensure commercial success. Ensure that you price your work accordingly, taking into consideration the cost of materials, manufacturing, delivery, market value as well as your cut as the designer of the piece. Too often, emerging designers will forgo their dues and pay themselves little to nothing, which results in them losing out on the much needed revenue to invest in their business.

It is also important to try to gain feedback from people who understand the commercial success of a designer, which surprisingly are not the press. The fashion buyer is an emerging designer’s best friend. While it may be super exciting to have your work featured in a local magazine or showcase, the only thing that will sustain your business is sales, not column inches.

Tip 3: Create your Brand Identity through Marketing & Advertising

There is no point in having a company if no one knows about it. Right from the beginning you should establish your brand identity, by which I mean how you want the public to perceive your business. This refers to the consumers perceptions about the product, the quality and the advantages your brand has over its competitors.

Young designers need to understand what they are and why they are starting their own businesses. If they do it, it is because they really believe that they have something to say that cannot be said in the context of Paul Smith or Oscar de la Renta or Dior.

Vanessa Friedman, Fashion Director, The New York Times.

A strategised marketing and communications plan are key to building your brand. Understand your market share, your target audience and how you are going to approach your customers. While social media is critically important to tapping into the current fashion audience, there is a lot more to it than setting up an Instagram page. You need to create a disciplined approach to tackling your consumers and peaking their interests in an super-saturated market.

It is also important to see PR companies and the rest of the media as powerful aides in your broader marketing plan. Hiring a PR agent or company is probably one of the best steps you will ever take in taking your business to the next level, but you should only try to bring your work to the attention of a wider audience if your business can sustain it.

Tip 4:  Tackle the Challenges of Production

As a designer and head of your business, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the manufacturing process so as to ensure that you can make realistic demands. Creating a sustainable relationship with a reliable manufacturer will be the key your success. You will be faced with the ethical dilemma of choosing to manufacture locally, which while good for your local economy and local fashion industry but can prove to be expensive, or to outsource production overseas where it is cheaper but perhaps more questionable.

As a new business you may struggle with production. You’ll be placing smaller orders, which ultimately leaves you in a poor position to bargain with manufacturers. Often, a manufacturer will ask you for a deposit before you are anywhere near to receiving payment from a retailer. While this can be a difficult pill to swallow in the early stages, it is essential to make this payment or any other promptly so that production is not delayed. If you rescind on your promises to get deliveries to retailers, it will damage your credibility.

Tip 5: Find the Key to Sales and Distribution

In order to be a successful designer of a successful company, you need to make sales. Lots of them. The direct financing of you own independent store is not the only option when it comes to making sales. If you do wish to open a flagship store, there are numerous investment options such as partnerships or joint ventures like our own Galway Designers Studio House, franchising or to approach established retailers.

When approaching an established retailer, you need to attract the attention of buyers. Approach buyers with an understanding of your Unique Selling Point, how your product fits with all of the other brands they buy, a set price point and a well structured business.

I think what could be improved is the designers’ sense of place. They need to know how they compare to the competition. Who is going to buy the product? Where you would like to be sold, realistically? Will it be the right price? These questions have to be answered before picking up a pen to design.

Anne Pitcher, Managing Director, Selfridges

Designers need to fully understand the contractual conditions of working with retailers, distributing companies and sales agents. When deciding to take your business this step further, you must fully appreciate the various different channels and options available to you and the effect each choice could have on the business.

If you choose to create an online business, it is important to consider all of the advantages, disadvantages, opportunities and peculiarities of this choice. Selling online is entirely different to selling in-store. With no tangible items for a customer to hold or try on, it can be incredibly difficult to make sales. As a general rule, more colorful or  printed products tend to be the best sellers, and any item that has an unusual shape or fit will be a tougher sell. However, having an online site will maximise your sales and increase your brand recognition.

Tip 6:  Understand the Importance of Funding and Financing

Money, money money.  At the very start, you will find your cash flow is going out a lot longer before it starts coming in. It is critically important therefore to know where your funding is coming from and keep your finances under control. In order to establish a successful fashion business, you need to appreciate the fact that the gap between funding your company and recovering revenue from the sales of your designs needs to be carefully managed with the utmost skill.

As a fashion business, you will need to be fully aware of the various funding options – loans, investors, grants etc – and and take into careful consideration what option is best to maximise your liquidity. Most businesses will bring an investor or two on board to gain some initial funding. If you choose to take a similar step you need to understand that you will lose some of the control over the business as you will have to meet their requirements and demands, so think very carefully and don’t undersell yourself and your share of the business.

The above tips offer just a brief snippet of what the full report explores. It has been written with the UK in mind, but all of the advice can be appropriated by anyone starting  a fashion business.

Read the full “Commercialising Creativity Report” here to read case studies and educate yourself fully on the factors that contribute to the success or failure of a designer’s fashion business.

***

Supporting emerging designers in the fashion industry is of particular importance to us here at the Galway Designers Network. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by young designers, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax, but they need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the link to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

 

Fashion: a Female Game?

Following from last week’s blog post an interesting thought struck me. While female empowerment is one of the biggest fashion trends for Summer 2017, why is it that female empowerment in the industry itself is such a rarity. Why is it a current trend rather than an eternal staple?

women-Maria-3
Image via Dior

Currently, the majority of creative directors for luxury fashion brands are men. Why? Is it that men are more talented, more deserving? No.

Women are miles ahead of the game in other areas: two of the arguably most powerful figures in the industry are women: Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, and Linda Fargo, senior vice-president and women’s fashions director for Manhattan based department store Bergdorf Goodman.

However, in the design field, women are still trailing behind their male counterparts. Let’s take take the three biggest luxury fashion conglomerates: LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton, Kering and Richemont, and examine them. Out of over 15 fashion and leather good’s brands owned by LVMH, only 4 of them are led by women. They are Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior, Phoebe Philo at Céline, Carol Lim at Kenzo, a shared position with Humberto Leon, and Silvia Venturini Fendi who is the creative director for accessories & men’s for Fendi. Within Kering, there are only 2 women heading the 8 brands: Stella McCartney is the creative director for her own label and Sarah Burton helm’s Alexander McQueen. Finally, within Richemont, there is only Natacha Ramsay Levi, the creative director for Chloé.

Major fashion colleges such as Central Saint Martins and New York’s Fashion Institute boast a huge majority of female students who win exceptional placements and excellent graduate jobs. LVMH, Kering and Richemont all boast excellent relationships with leading business schools around the world. In terms of these fashion conglomerates, Delphine Arnault of LVMH is a lone she-wolf among male executives.

www.businessoffashion.com_
Delphine Arnault, LVMH

While many of the world’s fashion houses were established by women many of them have since been taken over by men: Coco Chanel, Jeanne Lanvin, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Nina Ricci and Marie-Louise Carven.

There are exceptions that prove the rule. We have the likes of Miuccia Prada, Rei Kawakubo, Tory Burch, Angela Missoni, Donatella Versace, and Consuelo Castiglioni, all of whom either achieved their success by inheriting a family business or by starting their own.

It is a thought that leaves us with many questions. Perhaps it is that female designers are seen as less pioneering or innovative than their male counterparts? Is it that idea that women are incapable of balancing family and work life? Are women more interested in the glamorous side of the industry rather than the business? Is it sexism and male privilege?

dior-maria-slide-6R22-master675
Image via NY Times

The appointments of Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior, Natacha Ramsay Levi at Chloé, Claire Waight Keller at Givenchy and Bouchra Jarrar for Lanvin show that the tide is turning, but is it soon enough?

***

Supporting women in the fashion industry is of particular importance to us here at the Galway Designers Network. Our current project the Galway Designers Studio House has been established by three women, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax, but these women need your help to make their dream a reality. Follow the link to read all about the project and how you can take part.

The Galway Designers Network are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network. Get in touch by commenting below, via Facebook @galwaydesignersnetwork, via Instagram @galway_designersnetwork or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com.

Taking the Next Step

Galway Designers Studio House: Providing a space for you to grow your business.

The Galway Designers Network are delighted to announce some incredibly exciting news: Galway Designers Studio House.

18057822_1324388941012791_4973847750463640198_n

Galway Designers Studio House: Providing a space for you to grow your business.

The Galway Designers Studio House will be a venue, rather than a store, created for the purpose of offering a solid space for designers to sell their merchandise, whilst also offering a designated hub for people to come together, collaborate and learn something new as well as promote themselves and their business.

The vision for Galway Designers Studio House has grown from a need to create a new shopping experience, enabling consumers to step away from high street and department stores, from faceless fast fashion, and towards supporting local industry and ethical fashion.

A Store & A Studio.

The structure of Galway Designers Studio House will be two-fold: a store and a studio.

Within the store, local designers will have the opportunity to ‘rent’ a rail/table/window display, which will give them the much needed chance for exposure and getting their designs and their names into the minds of the wider public.

This studio is a space onsite will enable designers to work in a professional environment, helping you to get your designs/work stations out of your spare room. The studio will also serve as a venue for information evenings, networking events, courses and showcases to not only boost the profits of a designer’s business but also to offer education, tools and support to take the business to the next level.

The hardest part of being an independent designer is having your voice heard and your creative vision seen; Galway Designers Studio House offers you the chance to achieve just that!

Gayle, Ann & Virtue: The 3 women behind the idea.

This is an idea that has been created by three members of our Network, Gayle Poppers of Kizmet Clothing, Ann Petrov of Cozy Handmade Designs and Virtue Shine of Emerald & Wax. All three women have a desire to come together and combine their passion and experience to create a new avenue for their respective businesses. Each of these women have been designers and members of the fashion industry for a long time, and have gained extensive, essential experience in not only design, but also styling, marketing, event management and merchandising.

Below are some photographs of the three ladies so you can put faces to names and some thumbnail images of examples of some of their own stunning design work:

funditLOGO

Help make this dream a reality!

Gayle, Ann and Virtue have set up a crowdfunding campaign, to not only raise the much needed funds to back such an ambitious project, but to encourage everyone to get involved and support your local fashion industry. Galway is a hub of talented designers, innovators, crafters, stylists, models and photographers, and a project like the Galway Designers Studio House will be beneficial to everyone who wants to be a part of this special industry.

Gayle, Ann and Virtue have set a target of €11,000 in order to get the project up and running. This money will cover the costs of renting a secure premises, utilities, rates, fittings etc. The money will also go towards creating a strong and innovative marketing campaign which will help to spread the word, encourage more designers to join and ensure customers come flooding through the doors. With a detailed and extensive business plan in place, Gayle, Ann and Virtue can see the potential success this business will have, all they need is a little helping hand to get project off the ground.

You donate, we give you presents!

By donating some your money to this project, you will not only ensure that designers have the chance to achieve the dreams they have always longed for, you will also receive some special gifts as a reward to show you all our appreciation. We know you work exceptionally hard for your money, and we do not want you to think that we take your kindness for granted.

Donations of varying values will receive the following gifts from Gayle, Ann and Virtue:

  • €10+ : A specially designed thank you card & a specially designed tote bag.
  • €25+ : A specially designed thank you card & tote bag along with a 10% discount card to use in store.
  • €50+ : A specially designed thank you card & tote bag, along with a voucher for €20 to use in the store, a front row invitation to our networks bi-annual fashion shows, and a personal invite to the launch of the shop.
  • €100+ : All of the above, with an increased voucher of €50, along with a token gift and a VIP invite to the launch of the shop.
  • €250+ : All of the above, with an increased voucher of €75 to use in store along with a hamper of goodies worth €100.
  • €500+ : A very personal specially designed thank you card, a special mention on our website as a sponsor, VIP membership card which provides VIP invites to all our events, workshops and courses along with the store opening launch event. You will also receive 3 x €100 vouchers to spend on our in-house designers clothing lines.

Let’s make this happen!

If everyone gives, even a little, we can soon make this dream a reality, a dream that not only will benefit the designers involved, but also any potential designers who see that they too can have their individual voices heard and become successful, fulfilled and happy in their work.

Galway Fashion Showcase

The Galway Designers Network was officially Launched March 25th 2017 with the Galway Fashion Showcase in the Workbench, Bank of Ireland, Mainguard Street, Galway.
17630050_10154198571342186_8443249431482734247_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography

The event was hosted by talented beauty blogger Ruth from The Beauty Kemple. She offered not only superb MC skills but was also open and willing to share advice to both the designers and volunteers about how to build a successful online following.

The aim of the Showcase was to promote and highlight the work of 9 local designers. It offered the public a chance to catch a glimpse of exquisite designs, chat to models, designers and shop their products.

17505099_1897946553823574_2910730103611699329_o
Photo Credit: Manon Gustave

 

The 9 designers who took part were:

Cozy Handmade Designs
17426364_627370754124161_6169107284359728891_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17620387_627373910790512_6173078391583186324_o
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17498466_1349771251712226_4465088258962278255_n
Photo Credit: Caroline Walsh
Emerald x Wax
17457313_627371650790738_8007421352081652515_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17457809_10154198571917186_4697509501887549076_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17499458_627372887457281_6632823709692778135_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
Michelle Kearns Designs
17362888_1349772468378771_1919169832007359393_n
Photo Credit: Caroline Walsh
17425962_1349773735045311_1860761609145156206_n
Photo Credit: Caroline Walsh
17522808_1349773805045304_8519196488581400560_n
Photo Credit: Caroline Walsh

 

She Vibes
17855488_1897947483823481_3460240148414380214_o
Photo Credit: Manon Gustave
17457256_627372247457345_771001337901854661_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17834076_1873189352940507_1821816283004597278_o
Photo Credit: Manon Gustave

 

Kizmet Clothing
17425110_627370547457515_8181065287363027085_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17499038_627374527457117_864079977086710388_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17554255_10154198571737186_5420817955040209021_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography

 

Roseanne McNamee Designs
17523571_627370524124184_7729002234359163189_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17499464_627371420790761_3719921118169011417_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17499131_627371340790769_3899528292396501329_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography

 

Treats and Trinkets by Emma A

 

17457592_627372150790688_5804862894862269284_n

Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17498482_1349773985045286_7681574652654973566_n
Photo Credit: Caroline Walsh
17504440_1349773935045291_7115484990152213877_o
Photo Credit: Caroline Walsh
Maria Zamoyska
17458213_10154198571792186_2350013573324599121_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17523645_627374474123789_8784042641297027720_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17553871_627374484123788_4148343518199009900_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
Deirdre Kennedy
17522931_627373367457233_7870575352782501250_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17523019_627371114124125_1490841338628149141_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography
17498772_627372977457272_6838534538031893592_n
Photo Credit: Mick Russell Photography

The Galway Designers Network would like to offer the sincerest of thanks to Ruth from The Beauty Kemple, Graham Clarke & the team at the Workbench & Bank of Ireland, Grainne Coughlan & her team for providing makeup on the day, Sinead Lee Hair Design for hair, to all of our models and a huge thank you to our volunteers for all your help on the day.

Check out the Galway Desingers Network Facebook Page & Instagram for more coverage from the event.

 

The Galway Designers Network hopes to take part in more events like the Galway Fashion Showcase. We are always looking for new and exciting designers or anyone who feels they would love to be involved in the Network.

 

Please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you, about what you do and where you would like to see your business develop to!

 

For more, visit Galway Designers Fashion Showcase on Facebook or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com

Welcome to the Galway Designers Network

17757099_1897641233854106_1674095076595805560_n
Founded in February 2017, we are a group of hardworking, creative and innovative designers based in Galway and the West of Ireland looking to help and support each other.
The Network is open to all design genres and all backgrounds: jewellery, millinery, clothing, EVERYTHING!

The Network is a support system with regular meet ups, online support and recurring events which will enable each member to grow and expand within their creative field. The Galway Designers Network wants to boost each of its members, share ideas, offer advice and build a close community of talent and support.

Don’t give up on your dreams; if you want to do something and you are passionate about it, the Galway Designers Network is the place for you.

Through joining our Network, you will receive our regular newsletter which will give info on upcoming events, news and assistance which will help with your design business.

Please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you, about what you do and where you would like to see your business develop to!

For more, visit Galway Designers Fashion Showcase on Facebook or email galwayfashionshowcase@gmail.com